Friday, 18 September 2015

Happy Yesmas!

One year on.  It doesn't feel like it, not for the Yes supporters.

I remember the excitement I felt this time last year.  Voting day was finally here!  I had been going to meetings, taking part in online discussions and even taken part in some events, such as the Margomobile tour.  I felt involved.

The day before the referendum felt like Christmas Eve.  There was an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement, and all for a political event.  Scotland was changing.

The day of the referendum was foggy and damp, but the mood of the campaigners was buoyant.  I spent fifteen hours that day representing the Yes campaign outside a couple of polling stations.  By the end of it my feet and back were aching, but I still felt great.  We had had so much positive response from voters I was convinced that we would win.  When the results started to come in, I felt crushed.  How could we have lost?  How could my feeling that we would win have been so wrong?  Were there really people who didn't want their country to rule itself?  I couldn't understand it.

The next day was awful.  There were tears, I'm not ashamed to say.  But that day a small flame of defiance came into being.  Yes, we lost, but not by much.  And we had the experience of the referendum to learn from.  We will learn the lessons, and next time we will win.

The Unionists won, and responded by instigating a riot in George Square.  There was that note of triumphalism so often shown by the British Establishment.  A saltire was ripped from the hands of two young girls by grown men.  The flame of defiance grew.

One year on, and the Unionists may have won the referendum, but they have lost the political fight.  Their greatest fear is of another referendum, judging by the column inches and broadcast time spent calling for Nicola Sturgeon to confirm that she will not instigate another referendum.  That is not the behaviour of the winning side.  That is the behaviour of the side who won the battle but who can see they are losing the war.  A side who are not confident they can win another battle.

The flame of defiance still burns, even more fiercely than before.  I believe I will see Scottish independence in my lifetime, and I will work to see that it happens.

Happy Yesmas!

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